An investigation by Good Morning America found that taxi meters in New Jersey are inaccurate 47% of the time.
In a segment that aired this week, GMA followed New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs employees who do spot checks on taxis in the Newark area. Cabs are inspected by police and then required to drive on a track that is measured exactly one mile.
When GMA was taping, one cab checked out just fine. But the two that followed were overcharging passengers– one overbilled by about $3 for a ten-mile ride. Another overbilled by almost $9 for a ten-mile ride. Drivers told GMA that they had not tampered with the meters, but would have them fixed immediately.
Regulators said that cabs with inaccurate meters are slapped with red stickers, and the cab is taken out of service.
GMA reports that during the a full week of testing New Jersey regulators uncovered a failure rate of 47%.
When GMA contacted the New Jersey Cab Association, they downplayed the failure rate by saying that most cabs operate from the airport where flat rates are in effect.
“That little box next to the driver is supposed to be an impartial arbiter of time, distance and cost — making sure that neither you nor the driver gets ripped off.” How Stuff Works
The report ended with the reporter stating that new technology would likely soon replace the old meters. GMA also recommended that cab riders always ask the driver for an estimation of the fare, get a receipt and if you think you’ve been hosed, to call the local regulator.
Although not mentioned in the GMA report, it’s likely that “new technology” in cabs will be in the form of what we see in ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft that use GPS tracking to determine exact fares.
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Here’s the Good Morning America segment:
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